The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Rodger Nichols
For the Sentinel 

Plea for seniors' housing made to city


Rodger Nichols for the Sentinel

SPEAKING UP FOR SENIORS: Jessica Bieker addresses the city council Monday night.

Goldendale City Council met Monday night and rolled through some routine business. Councilors adopted ordinances to eliminate conflict of development standards for manufactured homes, and for a sewer revenue bond to cover part of the costs of the West Columbus project currently under way.

Councilors also authorized the cost of repairs on a city backhoe and heard some good news about last weekend's Pig Bowl charity football contest from Police Chief Reggie Bartkowski. The game features teams composed of Washington law enforcement members playing against a team from Oregon Law Enforcement to raise money for families facing steep unexpected medical bills. In addition to touchdowns scored on the field, fans could "buy" touchdowns with additional donations to the fund.

Bartkowski said the Washington side alone raised more than $16,000, and the Oregon side even more, though final figures won't be available until later in the week. The Goldendale Police Department fielded a pair of players for the Washington team and sent their McGruff police dog costume and their new squad car for a pregame parade around Wahtonka field in The Dalles, where the game is played. He said he was sorry to report the Oregon side won, only to take a good-natured teasing comment from councilor Guy Theriault that the reason they lost was because Bartkowski hadn't been on the team.

Councilors also heard a special presentation from Jessica Bieker, who asked a pertinent and poignant question: "Why, if seniors are so important, are there no assisted living facilities or nursing homes in Goldendale?" She described the plight of several elderly citizens who grew up in Goldendale and wanted to live out their days here but could not because they needed nursing or assisted living. She included among them a former justice of the Washington Supreme Court and a lady who gave away almost all her possessions in order to live in one of the assisted living trailers that were here for a while, only to have that facility close.

Bieker said she had written more than 100 letters to officials and persons of influence and received many replies acknowledging the problem, but not offering any solution.

"Being aware is not enough," she said, "We need action." She challenged the council and members of the audience to join her in her effort.

City Administrator Larry Bellamy noted several meetings coming up: a Dark Skies task force meeting directly after the city council meeting last night; the airport committee, Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. at city hall; and budget committee Monday, Sept. 26, also at 7 p.m. at city hall.


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